Tech guns for hire: 5 places to find skilled IT contractors

Need outside expertise for your next IT project? These resources and tips can help.

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vWorker

Formerly Rent-a-Coder, vWorker features a host of freelancers specializing in everything from data entry to Web design, with a concentration of programmers and other technology workers. As at other freelancing sites, employers post a job and contractors submit bids for the work. The site is free to use for both workers and employers. Like oDesk, vWorker takes a percentage of the worker's wages, ranging from 6.5% to 15%, depending on the type of project.

vWorker
At vWorker you can search for contractors according to a number of parameters including location and ranking.

Offering both money-back guarantees for employers and payment guarantees for workers, the site wins major points for trust and transparency. Contractors are encouraged to install AccuTimeCard software, which tracks worker hours and gives employers the option to examine screenshots from the worker's desktop during billed hours. There's even the ability to take in the view from the worker's webcam while he's logged into the application. An arbitration system allows workers and employers to settle any disputes over project payment, with vWorker as moderator.

Perhaps even more important, the site addresses a major problem with freelancing websites: misrepresentation of skills, knowledge and commitment to a project. No site can guarantee that workers will accurately represent themselves all of the time, and most employers using these sites will have some hits and misses. But when a hard project deadline is looming and you need to make sure you get it right the first time, vWorker's Expert Guarantee can help. Serious applicants for projects with tight deadlines can put down a percentage of the bid amount as a security deposit. If the project is not completed to the employer's exact specifications 100% on time, the worker loses her deposit and the job.

Guru

Easy to use with a sleek interface, Guru is an aesthetically pleasing option. But it provides substance as well as style, offering developers for an array of languages and environments, from .NET to Drupal.

Guru
Posting a project is quick and easy at Guru.

Guru operates the same way as the other sites in the roundup. The site offers great collaboration tools for employers, workers and other team members to stay on task once projects begin, including the ability to share files up to 100 megabytes in size.

Featuring many of the same verification strategies as other sites on the market, Guru profiles give employers a decent idea of how skilled potential applicants are. Worker descriptions, key skills and reviews from past jobs aid the vetting process. Also a welcome feature, Guru provides project suggestions to freelancers based on their reported skill set -- helping the best candidates for the job find your project easily.

Guru also offers a Premium Proposal feature that allows freelancers to appear first in the list of applicants for your project. This placement doesn't mean the contractor has more skills or is better suited to your project than other bidders, but submitting a Premium Proposal does require the freelancer to use multiple available bids, which demonstrates his eagerness to commit to your particular project. (story continues on next page)

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